(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Health Ministry will submit a bill immediately after the High Holy Days to allow medical tourism in all the hospitals, Minister Ya’acov Litzman said at a conference on health insurance and geriatric nursing in Tel Aviv.
“There are a lot of brilliant young doctors in the public health system, but because of the relatively low salaries we give in Israel, they cannot stay here and after the first phone call they receive from other countries, they go abroad,” he said. “After a few years, when they become great experts, we beg them to come back. Why? This causes great harm to the health system. We are willing to give them more money as salary doing private medicine so that they will remain in the public health system.”
Commenting on the move of many doctors and nurses to the new Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod, Litzman commented: “We knew that Assuta would take doctors and nurses from other hospitals, but it is impossible to take a large number of personnel from a single department. I want to protect Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon which are suffering the losses.”
As for geriatric nursing insurance that he has promised to bring via legislation, but which has gotten bogged down, Litzman said he is aware that the public doesn’t believe him that it will go through “and rightly so, because I promised it many times. The issue of geriatric nursing care is the biggest and most difficult thing, but the reform will come about. There are reserves and a budget surplus, and I am optimistic that we will have money for it.”
As for the financial crisis at the Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, the minister said: “I brought a recovery program for Laniado Medical Center, and the previous health minister [MK Yael German] attacked me because there are many ultra-Orthodox [haredim] there. She said that I give less to Nahariya. But the former minister knows that she is a criminal in what she says: I do not give preference to haredi patients over those who vote for Yesh Atid. Nahariya is a government hospital that received a budget since the beginning of 2017 like any other government hospital at the beginning of the year,” Litzman said.
“In May, we found out that Nahariya had a deficit of NIS 100 million. Should I ignore this? We held a hearing for the director-general and the finance manager. To claim that I don’t take action regarding one hospital and I do against another hospital is unfair. Isn’t this racism against haredim?” the minister asked.